His face is screened by the newspaper he’s reading.
‘Um, you know in yesterday’s post…’
A corner of the newspaper is folded down, and he regards me with his stern courtroom frown.
‘Well, I, I… I guess I was being a bit of a smart-ar… erm, smart-alec.’
Do I detect the ghost of a smirk on his face as his eyebrows slowly rise? I can’t meet his eyes – I look down at the floor.
‘Well. Go on’
I’m squirming with discomfort. ‘It’s the first paragraph in your essay. I, well, I didn’t read it properly and then I took the mickey about what you’d written. I mean – you’d already made the point, hadn’t you?’
‘I had, lass.’
I rush on ‘I was just being stupid – making a silly joke about your ‘tall stature’, and…’ I gulp ‘…and then adding a winking face icon.’ I cringe. My cheeks are burning and I’m overcome with shame.
‘I’m so sorry.’ I say, and brave a glance at him.
‘Ah well, lass. Don’t fret.’
He turns back to his newspaper and straightens it with a shake.
He clears his throat, and then exclaims indignantly: ‘But, as for the Bob Flowerdew bit – now, that’s a different matter. I mean – the man wears his hair in a pigtail!’